The 9% VAT rate doesn’t apply to alcohol but should still be supported

In 2011, the Irish Government introduced the special 9% VAT rate on a range of goods and services within the tourism and hospitality sector. It was a temporary measure that was extended for a year in Budget 2014. To date, it is estimated that this has contributed to one in four new jobs being created in the economy. It benefits not only tourists but also Irish consumers. However, today SIPTU called for the removal of the 9% VAT rate. What particularly annoyed me about the coverage of this pre-budget news item was the pre-occupation of media sources with using alcohol to illustrate this news item. The 9% VAT rate does not apply to alcohol. It continues to be subject to the standard VAT rate of 23% and let’s not forget that it is added after the application of excise duties. I took to twitter on this and to their credit within a few short minutes RTÉ had changed their photo (this wasn’t just confined to the website as it was on the RTÉ News Now channel). A growing sign of organisations monitoring social media channels and responding when required.

Regardless, hopefully the Minister for Finance will announce the retention of the 9% VAT rate for another year in his Budget 2015 speech next week.

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